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Oh no, you did exactly what I asked you to do!
Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 12:45 AM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444


 (I also posted this on Spouse/Partner forum, but I thought it would be of interest here. Please advise if this is wrong thing to do)


 “Look, sweetheart, the symphony is doing a special concert next month of the music of Star Wars”

“Cool. Let’s get tickets for that” said DW.  She is deep into the moderate stage, but still enjoys jazz, pops and other concerts. Our town’s several colleges and community orchestras offer a variety of free concerts in various genres, and we attend many.  But this was the professional orchestra and we were sure it would be well worth the slightly pricey tickets.

The concert was a matinee, downtown, and it was a fine balmy autumn afternoon. I’d told her about the concert several times that day. Each time it was the first she’d heard of it so each time her face lit up with delight. We were both stoked. Mid-afternoon we drove downtown, as did a lot of other people. Lots of cars, lots of people on the sidewalks of downtown, shopping, dining, happily talking. Pulled into the parking garage, and had to follow a line of cars up to the umpteenth level, dodging pedestrians all the way, till we finally found a spot. Then, find the elevator to get down to the street and then to the concert hall.

You more experienced caregivers out there have already detected the problem—by the time DW approached  the elevator, the street traffic, the sidewalk crowd scene, the caravan through the garage, and now the queue for the elevator were just too much stimulation. She was done for the day, concert or no.  To her blessed credit, she did nothing radical, she merely quietly acted out that classic cartoon in which one character in an office grimaces at another and says (approximately) “Oh, no! You did exactly what I asked you to do”.  Many times, I had told DW that I never wanted her to feel uncomfortable, or forced into a situation she did not like. “Just let me know”, I’d said more than once, “if you are uncomfortable anywhere we are, we’ll bail out and go home”.

So, as we neared the crowd waiting for the tiny elevator (which would have been problematic in its own right) she said, “Let’s just go home”.

“Um, sweetheart, we’ll miss the Star Wars concert”

“I just want to go home.” This time, there was real anxiety in the voice.

Several of my rear teeth lost a little more enamel to grinding for a moment. Ideas flashed of selling the tickets, turning them in, even just giving them away, but all that involved going down to street level and thereby upsetting DW more. So, none of that. I did see a migraine in my future, though. And a renewed preference for the free concerts.

 “Ok, it's all right. This way to the car, honey, let’s go home.

I think I did the right thing that day. I guess the Force was with me.



Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 3:19 AM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1281

Oh, bravo, MrToad ! I wonder if you are aware of the number of people looking to see when you post. You admit your imperfections, but in spite of them, you handle the situations that come up with your lovely wife in a way that most of us just dream of. The force is strong in you !

And, as an aside, I think Musings is perfect for your story.

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 10:55 PM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444

Tried again, this time at a free concert, at a more readily accessible auditorium. As we entered, and I almost literally stumbled into a row of detached chairs set far back from the last row of the auditorium. Why had I not thought of using such “disabled seating” sections in the past?  (DW might have explained it with her teasing smile, “because you’re a  stupid toad”.) Anyway, using the disabled seats was easier for her than the fixed row seats, but the real benefit was that she could giggle at musical moments that tickled her, slap her knee and bounce in her seat like an uninhibited  joyous kid as the symphonic music moved her, without disturbing anyone nearby. I needed to do no shussing. Therefore, we were both able to enjoy the whole thing. Perhaps the Mass times Acceleration is still with me.



Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 1:56 AM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1281

Is that like E=MCBlockhead  ?


Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 6:40 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11596

Isaac Newton aside, most people who have a LO with dementia do not think about asking for handicapped seating in an auditorium venue.   The word picture of your wife being able to be a free spirit in her joy at the music brought me a smile.   She is lovely. 


Posted: Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:23 PM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444

Another concert (we go to a lot because DW, a former choral singer, likes them; as for me, not so much, but no matter). So we’re sitting in that back row and I glance to my side and see a wheel-chair bound college-age woman, communicating with her companion by pointing to icons on an ipad-like device.  Further down the row is a perhaps thirty year old man with the facial features of one of those developmental disabilities. His apparently long-experienced, and perhaps prematurely aged father was holding his hand as they enjoyed the music. Off to the other side, two twenty-something parents had their hands full with a not-so-small rambunctious child. He was about 10 years old and perhaps autistic. He did not speak, but swayed back and forth in his seat impatiently, held his teddy bear close to his chest and repeatedly hopped into his mother’s, then his dad’s lap, and back again. Not sure any of them got to enjoy the music much.

DW? As usual, she was absorbed in the symphonic music, except when the timpani got too loud, when she pulled her sweater up over her head.

While the band played on,  I reflected that at age 69, I have the most difficult sustained job I have ever had (Next of Kin notification for servicemen killed in Viet Nam was more intensely tough, but that duty only lasted days at a time.) Nevertheless, hardly a day goes by that DW and I don’t share a belly laugh or three. That wheel-chair bound young woman? That disabled man? That autistic child? and all their caregivers? Do they get to laugh as often?

 God has given me a tough assignment, but in this context, I am grateful that it is what it is.


Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:45 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462

Believe it or not, Mr. Toad. I discovered in the last three years of my 13 year stint as a care-giver for  dear sweet Jeanne. That it wasn't a tough assignment, after all. It was a joyful pleasure. I looked forward to it. Every day. I felt blessed. That I had really learned to truly care. Maybe the nicest experience of my life. --Jim
Posted: Monday, October 16, 2017 10:11 PM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444


I do understand your point. I wish none of us had to deal with this blight, and hope our families will see the end of it. But yes indeed, this experience has deepened my love for DW. When this began, because I cared about DW, I cared for her. The more I have cared for her, the more deeply I care about her. My frequent mantra to her: “You will always be safe; you will never have to be alone, and I will always love you”. I hope she believe me.



Posted: Saturday, October 28, 2017 12:13 PM
Joined: 12/10/2011
Posts: 287

Mr. Toad---My caregiving days have passed...Visit infrequently and usually only read the Musing forum.  (I always felt safe here...It was usually a place free of controversy that allowed discussion about all topics.) 

Today much of my time was spent reading your posts to Musings and want to thank you for your sensitive postings. 

Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 12:06 AM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444


I am glad you found my words of value. There's a new one here in Musings today, and also several over on Spouse/Partners.


Marty Cares 79
Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 5:06 AM
Joined: 11/1/2017
Posts: 97

AS I read the many post on this forum,I realize what deep.special love so many have for the ones they care for.Am sure it may even SURPRISE us what we have been capable of

My DH has decided he is not crazy about bathing anymore, and I have a struggle getting him to shower.I said to him the other day<<you smell>>please bathe

OMG, I cried for hours that I had said such a mean thing to the love of my life!!

59 wonderful wonderful years of marriage to a very special .kind man and I SAY THAT!!

Of all I do for him, that I have no problems doing, That was terrible


Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 7:21 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

Is there a nice way to tell someone they smell? I would want someone to tell me. I imagine I may be embarrassed. But I'd want to know nevertheless. Forgive yourself quickly Marta. I've found out that this helps me (through a dear friend) and I think it can help caregivers also. Although there are some things to learn about different ways to go about encouraging someone to shower perfection is not part of the equation and what works for one person may not work for another. May I suggest that you try to tap into your DH's altruism and tell him how happy it would make you or another loved one if he could shower? Perhaps taking him on an outing or simply saying I laid out your clothing and towel and got everything ready for your shower may help. Additionally, if you check the archives there is a host of other information that may be beneficial. Whatever you do and whatever works and doesn't work just be loving and kind and know you did your best.
Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 10:27 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462

Sometimes, the truth hurts. But it's better to risk telling the truth. Than to go through life telling lies. Worst of all, is telling one's self lies. Self-deception. The real truth is that we are all liars. --Jim